Thursday, July 28, 2011

Requiem for a lost warrior: Buster the cat update

Last week the great hero-cat Buster got rode out of town on a rail.  Granted living with a warrior is not easy.  Blood is shed.  Relationships can be strained.  Frequently, stitches are required.  But my mouser is gone and I am sad.  The first incident was unfortunate -- Buster attacked another cat.  But cats do fight each other. It's their nature.  The second incident was also unfortunate.  Buster sent a little white dog to the vet hospital but the stupid dog (it's my dog so I can say this) shouldn'ta oughta have chased after that particular cat.  I don't care if Buster was sitting on our front walk. The dog should have known she was out classed by a factor of 10.  Sadly, Buster left gashes on the arm of the sweet  lady who walks the beagle and animal control had enough. Buster was relocated.  My peaches got eaten by squirrels no doubt while they were singing ding dong the cat is dead in celebration of their new freedom.  Goodbye Buster.  I will miss your mad skills even if you were a menace. 

China: 5000 Years of History in 26 Days

gate by ahamiltongreenDear readers. Can you forgive my 30 days of silence? I can only offer the excuse that access to Blogger is blocked in China.

From July 1-26 I toured that massive country including Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai with a group of Chinese-born teenagers including my daughter Lia and her dear friend Jenny.

During the first half of the trip our days were managed by CTS (aka China Travel Service). We luxuriated in four star hotels and gorged on scrumptious multi-course banquets. Educated, diplomatic and well-connected tour guides shepherded us to the front of endless lines as we worked our way through the sights that represent major moments in Chinese history.

Our long but comfortable march took us through Tienanmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Great Wall, The Peking Opera School, The Song and Tang Dynasties, as well as art museums, shadow puppet shows, the terracotta warriors, traditional gardens, traditional foods, traditional shops, river towns and more.... all representing what seems like an endless stream of human activity and more than 5,000 years of Chinese history.

Between sights, we traveled on first rate tour buses with good sound systems and good air conditioning--the kind of buses that are never too hot or too cold, too loud or too soft. Together with  40 wonderful fellow traveler we scratched at the surface of a country that is too big to understand in the same way that the Grand Canyon is too deep to comprehend until you get on a mule and plunge the depths.

During the second half of the trip our accommodations changed. We stayed in a Chinese boarding school--think hard beds, bad food, gasping air conditioners and guarded gates to keep us in as much as to keep others out.  Uncomfortable?  Oh yeah.  But here we were invited to pass through a massive gates that both figuratively and literally guard the guts of China and here we began to reach a deeper level of understanding about what it means to be part of the complex ancient and at the same time all new behemoth of China rising.

I hope to work through my memories and photos with you over then next few days.  Take care and thanks for your patience.